Over the next few months, I’ll be inviting more guest writers to Her Glass Slipper as I begin to write a book (a real book!) for you all to place in your loo (or wherever, that’s not a command. Just an option).
A few people have been asking about break ups and how to handle them. So this series will be less of a wordy craftsmanship and more of a bullet list on the tools to healing in a break up.
This will discuss that process and how to find clarity and a whole heart at the end. Not broken. Not trampled on. Whole. Renewed – shinier than before.
The main focus is this: your break ups can bring brokenness or break through – it’s up to you. For through all pain, comes a greater wisdom and revelation of ourselves, of how we work. The process can be as insightful as you want it to. It’s rough. It’s painful, but you’re never given anything you can’t handle.
Talking to LK the other night I was running through friends going through recent break ups and how we want to have a pill to fix the pain and make it better. The fear of pain is far worse than the pain itself, as the things we hide behind become another problem on top of the problem.
‘There’s your next blog post’ he tells me.
These musings are from my own meandering mistakes and victories. Chuck ‘em in the pan, or post them on your bathroom mirror.
The Break Up Series – Part 1.
The Actual Break Up
Whether you know he’s about to have ‘that chat’, or you have made the decision – pray hard about your action plan. Attack will welcome defensiveness. Sharing your feelings ‘I felt controlled, I felt misunderstood, I felt unknown, I was hurt by your words to others, I was hurt by..blah blah blah…’ you wont probably remember the words in a year but you will know if you have regret over your behavior in the break up. So act with wisdom. Sharing your feelings can’t really be argued, attack of someone’s character can be. Accusation can be argued. Feelings are harder to argue because it’s your heart and your head. Sharing your feelings will help part of that closure.
Give them the time to share their feelings too. Respect his right to feelings.
If they (or maybe you) just aren’t safe enough to have closure (domestic violence/codependency/substance abuse/addiction) then have a plan to find people close enough to challenge you on a way of finding closure yourself. Make a plan that keeps you accountable to being safe for yourself and others around you.
Looking for their approval or forgiveness in the break up will not get you very far. They are hurting and aren’t really thinking about teamwork, or your heart as a matter of fact. Grief is a party for one usually. If you’re needing harmony so badly with them, there’s some fear of man being played out and this says a lot about the relationship.
Respect the fact that men in particular need their caves. Don’t go branding around that you guys have split up within the first week. When people do this, it screams a desire for shock tactics and ‘let’s see what he’ll do’. Be patient, and resist the urge to manipulate for his reaction. It’s done. It is finished. Be brutal with that reality and come back to loving you. There’s freedom in accepting you guys just weren’t right for each other. Don’t seek to blame in this final chapter with him, seek to gain a better ear for your heart and brave communication with gentleness.
If you are able to have an amicable conversation, talk about HOW you’ll separate. When my ex-boyfriend of 5 years and I broke up – we planned how to do it. Interaction would be a bi-monthly basis. We planned separation of money and furniture. We talked about whether we stay facebook friends, to the closure of our business, to the fact we would tell each other when we began seeing other people. Avoiding as much hurt via chinese whispers as possible. We planned not to tell anyone for 2 months until we could palate the situation ourselves. 5 years is a long time with a lot of friends to tell. Whatever you plan in this time, stick to it, for sticking to your promises creates much healing and respect between the both of you. It shows you are trustworthy and accountable to your words. Even after you’ve not made the relationship work. That’s just general respect.
The Tough Bit
You’ve had the chat. Things/items have been exchanged. This is the stage where I would suggest to let yourself be in pain.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO MOURN. Write it down. Shout it out (in a bomb proof room). Not for an audience, but on your own. Get bold with courage. Don’t start getting all busy on schedule, hide your head down under paperwork, eat your body weight in ice cream, or travel the world for escapism. If you believe in yourself and your need for healing, you’ll give your heart the chance to have it’s say – that isn’t in the form of an all-day Westfield shopping spree. That’s in the form of anger, outrage, feeling robbed, feeling unknown, feeling misrepresented, whacking a pillow with the cuddly toy he gave you or lighting on fire your favourite picture of you guys in Tenerife. Write terrible songs that will make you cringe in 8 months time. Snot away your feelings until it begins to feel different. Schedule that time in – every other day (or however much you need) and check in with your heart. Not allowing yourself to feel pain or acting out in the way you think you should over what your heart wants to do is as helpful as drinking arsenic.
Too many Christians think we aren’t allowed to express pain or hurt, that we must immediately forgive. Christ threw over tables when he was angry. He went into the mountains to mourn when John the Baptist was beheaded. He cried with compassion the moment he saw Mary crying over Lazarus’ death. His connection with his head and heart were instant. It’s merely culture (especially British culture) or self-denial, or fear, that teaches us strength is in the hiding of feelings. I would suggest the strongest people I know allow themselves to be angry, to be hurt and express it when the heart needs it.
Get Tough with Tough Questions
Unhealthy relationships end, healthy ones continue. Ask yourself the reason why this one ended. It’s not all his fault. For two to tango, both have to place themselves on the dance floor. So why did you choose to dance with him? There was something you found attractive in this and a reason why it didn’t stay together – use those answers to dream big for the next time (and there is always a next time).
Codependent guy? – What did you need fixing by him that you chose not to fix yourself?
Addict? – What part of you is trying to fix him or what in your history are you trying to re-write?
He’s like your dad and not for the right reasons? Then heal the daddy issues. And for the love of everyone else who comes into contact with you – do it now.
He tells you that you have no confidence and don’t believe in yourself? So work out how you can? What lies are you believing that doesn’t make you feel you’re worthy of love?
Pushing the blame being their issues won’t help you get to forgiveness – be ruthless in honesty.
This is a time to be brutal on answering those questions but whatever the answers – don’t be brutal on yourself for those choices. They are merely lessons to be made for next time. Allow yourself to make mistakes, pride will often not allow yourself to have that. So be careful on the messages in your mind.
Wring out all the feelings and questions like water from a flannel. You will notice a difference in intensity of feeling the more you do it. Then one day, the same process just won’t bring on the same feelings. That’s when forgiveness comes in…..but we’re not there yet. That’s for later.
It Ain’t All Gloomy
In the next post, I’ll talk about friendship and community over this time. But you must have relief so that this processing of pain isn’t developing into depression. Neurones of your brain can get addicted to emotions, so it’s important to give yourself light relief and get out. Your entire world may be missing your best friend, but you had other friends and you have your faith. God throughout all of your life needs to be in the centre and when He’s not, thats when emotions go off the radar. Go for God encounters, enjoy the comfort of the presence of God one night and dance your socks off the next. Find new things you’ve always wanted to try.
During my break ups I’ve had the greatest friends who send me videos of them goofing around for a cheap laugh. Voicemails to my office phone for everyone to hear. Practical jokes. Whatever it is you need to laugh – do it. The boyfriend was not your entire happiness, you had fun before he ever existed, so remind yourself of that in bursts whilst staying true to giving yourself time to mourn. Create memories and experiences that entertain your brain and soul. I’ve had some of the finest fun in the hardest times of break ups because I was intentional about laughing. It didn’t mean I didn’t have acid refluxes of emotion cropping up, but I gave myself permission to have fun…..
Give yourself permission to have the feelings you need to have, so you can find at the end of them revelation to a greater understanding of you and more importantly God.
Trust me, this stuff works.